FC(1P)                    POSIX Programmer's Manual                   FC(1P)

PROLOG         top

       This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual.  The Linux
       implementation of this interface may differ (consult the
       corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or
       the interface may not be implemented on Linux.

NAME         top

       fc — process the command history list

SYNOPSIS         top

       fc [−r] [−e editor] [first [last]]

       fc −l [−nr] [first [last]]

       fc −s [old=new] [first]

DESCRIPTION         top

       The fc utility shall list, or shall edit and re-execute, commands
       previously entered to an interactive sh.

       The command history list shall reference commands by number. The
       first number in the list is selected arbitrarily. The relationship of
       a number to its command shall not change except when the user logs in
       and no other process is accessing the list, at which time the system
       may reset the numbering to start the oldest retained command at
       another number (usually 1). When the number reaches an
       implementation-defined upper limit, which shall be no smaller than
       the value in HISTSIZE or 32767 (whichever is greater), the shell may
       wrap the numbers, starting the next command with a lower number
       (usually 1). However, despite this optional wrapping of numbers, fc
       shall maintain the time-ordering sequence of the commands. For
       example, if four commands in sequence are given the numbers 32766,
       32767, 1 (wrapped), and 2 as they are executed, command 32767 is
       considered the command previous to 1, even though its number is

       When commands are edited (when the −l option is not specified), the
       resulting lines shall be entered at the end of the history list and
       then re-executed by sh.  The fc command that caused the editing shall
       not be entered into the history list. If the editor returns a non-
       zero exit status, this shall suppress the entry into the history list
       and the command re-execution.  Any command line variable assignments
       or redirection operators used with fc shall affect both the fc
       command itself as well as the command that results; for example:

           fc −s −− −1 2>/dev/null

       reinvokes the previous command, suppressing standard error for both
       fc and the previous command.

OPTIONS         top

       The fc utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of
       POSIX.1‐2008, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines.

       The following options shall be supported:

       −e editor Use the editor named by editor to edit the commands. The
                 editor string is a utility name, subject to search via the
                 PATH variable (see the Base Definitions volume of
                 POSIX.1‐2008, Chapter 8, Environment Variables).  The value
                 in the FCEDIT variable shall be used as a default when −e
                 is not specified. If FCEDIT is null or unset, ed shall be
                 used as the editor.

       −l        (The letter ell.) List the commands rather than invoking an
                 editor on them. The commands shall be written in the
                 sequence indicated by the first and last operands, as
                 affected by −r, with each command preceded by the command

       −n        Suppress command numbers when listing with −l.

       −r        Reverse the order of the commands listed (with −l) or
                 edited (with neither −l nor −s).

       −s        Re-execute the command without invoking an editor.

OPERANDS         top

       The following operands shall be supported:

       first, last
                 Select the commands to list or edit. The number of previous
                 commands that can be accessed shall be determined by the
                 value of the HISTSIZE variable. The value of first or last
                 or both shall be one of the following:

                 [+]number A positive number representing a command number;
                           command numbers can be displayed with the −l

                 number   A negative decimal number representing the
                           command that was executed number of commands
                           previously. For example, −1 is the immediately
                           previous command.

                 string    A string indicating the most recently entered
                           command that begins with that string. If the
                           old=new operand is not also specified with −s,
                           the string form of the first operand cannot
                           contain an embedded <equals-sign>.

                 When the synopsis form with −s is used:

                  *  If first is omitted, the previous command shall be

                 For the synopsis forms without −s:

                  *  If last is omitted, last shall default to the previous
                     command when −l is specified; otherwise, it shall
                     default to first.

                  *  If first and last are both omitted, the previous 16
                     commands shall be listed or the previous single command
                     shall be edited (based on the −l option).

                  *  If first and last are both present, all of the commands
                     from first to last shall be edited (without −l) or
                     listed (with −l).  Editing multiple commands shall be
                     accomplished by presenting to the editor all of the
                     commands at one time, each command starting on a new
                     line. If first represents a newer command than last,
                     the commands shall be listed or edited in reverse
                     sequence, equivalent to using −r.  For example, the
                     following commands on the first line are equivalent to
                     the corresponding commands on the second:

                         fc −r 10 20    fc    30 40
                         fc    20 10    fc −r 40 30

                  *  When a range of commands is used, it shall not be an
                     error to specify first or last values that are not in
                     the history list; fc shall substitute the value
                     representing the oldest or newest command in the list,
                     as appropriate. For example, if there are only ten
                     commands in the history list, numbered 1 to 10:

                         fc −l
                         fc 1 99

                     shall list and edit, respectively, all ten commands.

       old=new   Replace the first occurrence of string old in the commands
                 to be re-executed by the string new.

STDIN         top

       Not used.

INPUT FILES         top



       The following environment variables shall affect the execution of fc:

       FCEDIT    This variable, when expanded by the shell, shall determine
                 the default value for the −e editor option's editor option-
                 argument. If FCEDIT is null or unset, ed shall be used as
                 the editor.

       HISTFILE  Determine a pathname naming a command history file. If the
                 HISTFILE variable is not set, the shell may attempt to
                 access or create a file .sh_history in the directory
                 referred to by the HOME environment variable. If the shell
                 cannot obtain both read and write access to, or create, the
                 history file, it shall use an unspecified mechanism that
                 allows the history to operate properly. (References to
                 history ``file'' in this section shall be understood to
                 mean this unspecified mechanism in such cases.) An
                 implementation may choose to access this variable only when
                 initializing the history file; this initialization shall
                 occur when fc or sh first attempt to retrieve entries from,
                 or add entries to, the file, as the result of commands
                 issued by the user, the file named by the ENV variable, or
                 implementation-defined system start-up files. In some
                 historical shells, the history file is initialized just
                 after the ENV file has been processed. Therefore, it is
                 implementation-defined whether changes made to HISTFILE
                 after the history file has been initialized are effective.
                 Implementations may choose to disable the history list
                 mechanism for users with appropriate privileges who do not
                 set HISTFILE; the specific circumstances under which this
                 occurs are implementation-defined. If more than one
                 instance of the shell is using the same history file, it is
                 unspecified how updates to the history file from those
                 shells interact. As entries are deleted from the history
                 file, they shall be deleted oldest first. It is unspecified
                 when history file entries are physically removed from the
                 history file.

       HISTSIZE  Determine a decimal number representing the limit to the
                 number of previous commands that are accessible. If this
                 variable is unset, an unspecified default greater than or
                 equal to 128 shall be used. The maximum number of commands
                 in the history list is unspecified, but shall be at least
                 128. An implementation may choose to access this variable
                 only when initializing the history file, as described under
                 HISTFILE.  Therefore, it is unspecified whether changes
                 made to HISTSIZE after the history file has been
                 initialized are effective.

       LANG      Provide a default value for the internationalization
                 variables that are unset or null. (See the Base Definitions
                 volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 8.2, Internationalization
                 Variables for the precedence of internationalization
                 variables used to determine the values of locale

       LC_ALL    If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of
                 all the other internationalization variables.

       LC_CTYPE  Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of
                 bytes of text data as characters (for example, single-byte
                 as opposed to multi-byte characters in arguments and input

                 Determine the locale that should be used to affect the
                 format and contents of diagnostic messages written to
                 standard error.

       NLSPATH   Determine the location of message catalogs for the
                 processing of LC_MESSAGES.



STDOUT         top

       When the −l option is used to list commands, the format of each
       command in the list shall be as follows:

           "%d\t%s\n", <line number>, <command>

       If both the −l and −n options are specified, the format of each
       command shall be:

           "\t%s\n", <command>

       If the <command> consists of more than one line, the lines after the
       first shall be displayed as:

           "\t%s\n", <continued-command>

STDERR         top

       The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.

OUTPUT FILES         top




EXIT STATUS         top

       The following exit values shall be returned:

        0    Successful completion of the listing.

       >0    An error occurred.

       Otherwise, the exit status shall be that of the commands executed by



       The following sections are informative.


       Since editors sometimes use file descriptors as integral parts of
       their editing, redirecting their file descriptors as part of the fc
       command can produce unexpected results. For example, if vi is the
       FCEDIT editor, the command:

           fc −s | more

       does not work correctly on many systems.

       Users on windowing systems may want to have separate history files
       for each window by setting HISTFILE as follows:


EXAMPLES         top


RATIONALE         top

       This utility is based on the fc built-in of the KornShell.

       An early proposal specified the −e option as [−e editor [old= new ]],
       which is not historical practice. Historical practice in fc of either
       [−e editor] or [−e − [ old= new ]] is acceptable, but not both
       together. To clarify this, a new option −s was introduced replacing
       the [−e −].  This resolves the conflict and makes fc conform to the
       Utility Syntax Guidelines.

       HISTFILE  Some implementations of the KornShell check for the
                 superuser and do not create a history file unless HISTFILE
                 is set. This is done primarily to avoid creating unlinked
                 files in the root file system when logging in during
                 single-user mode.  HISTFILE must be set for the superuser
                 to have history.

       HISTSIZE  Needed to limit the size of history files. It is the intent
                 of the standard developers that when two shells share the
                 same history file, commands that are entered in one shell
                 shall be accessible by the other shell. Because of the
                 difficulties of synchronization over a network, the exact
                 nature of the interaction is unspecified.

       The initialization process for the history file can be dependent on
       the system start-up files, in that they may contain commands that
       effectively preempt the settings the user has for HISTFILE and
       HISTSIZE.  For example, function definition commands are recorded in
       the history file. If the system administrator includes function
       definitions in some system start-up file called before the ENV file,
       the history file is initialized before the user can influence its
       characteristics. In some historical shells, the history file is
       initialized just after the ENV file has been processed. Because of
       these situations, the text requires the initialization process to be

       Consideration was given to omitting the fc utility in favor of the
       command line editing feature in sh.  For example, in vi editing mode,
       typing "<ESC>v" is equivalent to:

           EDITOR=vi fc

       However, the fc utility allows the user the flexibility to edit
       multiple commands simultaneously (such as fc 10 20) and to use
       editors other than those supported by sh for command line editing.

       In the KornShell, the alias r (``re-do'') is preset to fc −e −
       (equivalent to the POSIX fc −s).  This is probably an easier command
       name to remember than fc (``fix command''), but it does not meet the
       Utility Syntax Guidelines.  Renaming fc to hist or redo was
       considered, but since this description closely matches historical
       KornShell practice already, such a renaming was seen as gratuitous.
       Users are free to create aliases whenever odd historical names such
       as fc, awk, cat, grep, or yacc are standardized by POSIX.

       Command numbers have no ordering effects; they are like serial
       numbers.  The −r option and −number operand address the sequence of
       command execution, regardless of serial numbers. So, for example, if
       the command number wrapped back to 1 at some arbitrary point, there
       would be no ambiguity associated with traversing the wrap point. For
       example, if the command history were:

           32766: echo 1
           32767: echo 2
           1: echo 3

       the number −2 refers to command 32767 because it is the second
       previous command, regardless of serial number.



SEE ALSO         top


       The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Chapter 8, Environment
       Variables, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines

COPYRIGHT         top

       Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form
       from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, Standard for Information
       Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open
       Group Base Specifications Issue 7, Copyright (C) 2013 by the
       Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open
       Group.  (This is POSIX.1-2008 with the 2013 Technical Corrigendum 1
       applied.) In the event of any discrepancy between this version and
       the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and
       The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original
       Standard can be obtained online at .

       Any typographical or formatting errors that appear in this page are
       most likely to have been introduced during the conversion of the
       source files to man page format. To report such errors, see .

IEEE/The Open Group                 2013                              FC(1P)

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